4 Design tricks to make a small bathroom feel bigger

Even though I've got a very small bathroom compared to many other homes, we've managed to make it a bit feel more spacious with some easy design tricks that give the impression of a bigger room - here's how...

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When I first moved into my home, the bathroom was a mess. It wasn’t just small and poorly laid-out, it was actually damaged and the toilet had been leaking into the floor for ages. The sink was overhanging the end of the bath and the plumbing was a tangle of pipework.

It was the first room that we needed to revamp. In fact, we didn’t move into the house until the bathroom was complete – after all, there’s never a good time to be without a bathroom when you’re living there! But it needed a big change to make it livable, including a whole new suite, shower and tiling.

If you’re remodelling your bathroom, there are plenty of ideas online for creating a traditional bathroom in a compact space. Our room is definitely on the small-side when compared to most other bathrooms but that didn’t stop us having big ideas on how to make it feel more roomy. Here are my tips to do just that:

1. Make a plan

The most important step in remodelling your bathroom to make it appear bigger is to draw out a plan. You don’t need any particular design skills to do this – you just need to know the dimensions of the room and you can use bathroom design software online to plan out the space.

This way, you can see whether you are able to fit in a bath, a shower, and where is best to position the toilet and basin. You can get the measurements of the suite you’re considering buying and enter these dimensions into the bathroom planner software to make sure it’ll fit BEFORE you order anything.

Looking at the ‘before’ photos of my bathroom, you wouldn’t think that it would be possible to fit the bath across the room – but drawing it out on a plan in advance confirmed it was doable and gave us the confidence to make that change.

This is certainly one of the reasons why the bathroom now looks bigger; positioning the bath across the back wall has visually changed the proportions of the room to make it feel wider. Plus, you get more floorspace in the centre of the room to move around in.

2. Over-bath shower

Often, the reason why bathrooms feel smaller is because too many things have been crammed into a compact space. So, if you can remove one item, the rest of the suite will have more room to ‘breathe’. This is why we decided not to have a separate shower and to fit a rainfall shower head over the bath instead.

This option is available in any bathroom as you can either fit an electric or boiler-fed shower over a bath. With the right enclosure (a glass screen or shower curtain) you’ll easily be able to contain your shower within the bath – which actually provides a larger space for showering than a compact cubicle.

The kind of shower you can use over a bath will depend on the type of boiler you have in your home. If you have an electric water heater rather than a gas boiler, it might be harder to regulate the temperature of the shower and you can run out of hot water while you’re showering. We have a gas boiler so we chose a Mira rainfall shower that is fed by consistent hot water directly from the boiler.

In doing so, we’ve actually lost a bit of space in the bathroom behind the bath, as all the plumbing is behind a false wall that we built to hold the shower unit. But this means that we don’t have a tangle of pipes on display, which often makes the room feel messier and therefore smaller.

3. Leave space on the floor

A tried-and-tested method in interior design to make your room feel bigger is to lift furniture off the floor. Choosing sofas, sideboards and storage on legs make the room look more spacious by allowing the eye to travel beneath the chunky furniture.

The same goes for making a bathroom feel larger. If you choose a tub bath on feet, a wall-mounted toilet or a vanity basin with space beneath it, you’ll be able to see all the way to the walls of the room, so you can see the full capacity of the space, which gives the impression of the bathroom being larger.

4. Choose reflective surface

The final way to make a small room feel bigger is to keep it bright and white to bounce the daylight around the room and make it feel airier. But, in bathrooms, you’ve got another option – to add reflective surfaces.

Choose glossy tiles, shiny porcelain, polished metals and mirrors to achieve the same airy feel. If you select shiny surfaces, it doesn’t really matter what colours they are, as they’ll still help to reflect the light around the room and give the impression of space.

I hope these tips have given you inspiration for your own bathroom remodelling project. Let me know how you’ve managed to revamp your bathroom to make it feel more spacious in the comments below – I’d love to hear your design tricks and interior hacks! 🙂

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This article is sponsored collaboration. The pink links in the content indicate a sponsored link or information source. The blog post reflects my own experience and the sponsor hasn’t had any control over my content 🙂

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Cassie Fairy
Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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